Scotland Yard has appealed to the retired officers to consider returning to the force and those nearing retirement to postpone those plans to help cope with the massive workload due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick is writing to all former Met officers, who retired within the last five years, asking them to re-join either in a paid or voluntary capacity.
“On behalf of London, and all the men and women of the Met, it is important that we take all reasonable steps to bolster our numbers,” Dick said.
“Police officers overwhelmingly join ‘the job’ to help people and to make a difference, and that desire will be as strong today as it was the very first day they joined.
“I am hopeful that these exceptionally experienced and knowledgeable former colleagues choose to come and be part of our team and support London at this extraordinary time as either as a re-employed police officer, special constable or a volunteer,” she said.
The UK Home Office has said that it intends to make changes to the tax and pension arrangements, so that more officers are likely to respond to this call.
The Met Police said that the return and retention of officers with valuable skills and experience will help to increase the force’s resilience and allow it to be even more flexible.
“Demands on us will grow and vary over the coming weeks but I want people to know and see that the Met is here for them. We must maintain our operational resilience and continue to provide the best possible service to London,” added the commissioner.
As part of the drive, the Met is asking all officers who retired as police constables or sergeants within the last five years to re-join at those ranks, either on a full or part-time basis. Senior officers may also be able to re-join where they bring specific skills and experience.
Those wishing to apply to return will be asked to complete a simple online form to ensure the process is as fast as possible, supported by a serving Met officer acting as a sponsor.
“The process has been streamlined to mean re-joiners can quickly return to the streets of London,” the Met said.
Those officers who feel that returning or extending their service is not right for them at the moment, or who retired at the rank of inspector or above, are also being asked to consider being sworn in as members of the Met’s Special Constabulary and committing to at least 16 hours a month.
Alternatively, they can volunteer in a number of other capacities.
The initiative comes as the Home Office handed UK police additional powers to enforce the government’s strict social distancing and lockdown measures.
As on Friday, the UK recorded at least 14,500 cases of COVID-19, and 759 deaths.